Solid pitching? Check. Just enough hitting? Check.
It seems simple, but the Cubs have played some solid baseball over the past 90 games (45-45 before tonight), and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down with their latest win in Cincinnati tonight, their fourth straight. Travis Wood found his 2013 magic against his former employer, he worked six scoreless innings, giving up just two hits, while walking one, and striking out five. The Cubs pen shut, no, slammed the door once again, as Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon were lights out. Wood picked up his eighth win of the season, and Rondon registered his 22nd save of the year.
Offensively the Cubs got started in the first, and that was all they needed. Anthony Rizzo hit an absolute bomb off of Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto in the first, it was his 30th home run of the season, that’s impressive. Starlin Castro returned from the bereavement list tonight, and picked up right where he left off, he went 2-for-4 in the win. Arismendy Alcantara joined the fun late, as he blasted a two-run shot to give the Cubs some insurance in the seventh.
Get ready for Jorge Soler, he debuts tomorrow!
Note: Anthony Rizzo left the game late with some back tightness, he should be fine.
Not a bad way to go out, eh? Jorge Soler took Taijuan Walker deep last night, then was pulled because he was getting called up by the Cubs, solid night. Pure power on display here, gets a fastball up, and destroys it, I can’t wait for Wednesday when Soler is expected to make his debut with the Cubs in Cinicnnati.
Finally. Per David Kaplan, Jorge Soler will be called up by the Cubs, and will be joining the big club in Cincinnati tomorrow.
Soler hit his eighth home run (with Iowa) of the season tonight, off of Mariners number one prospect Taijuan Walker… then was pulled from the game, now we know why. Welcome to Chicago, Jorge! The one thing fans will notice with Soler is the advanced approach, he knows how to work his at bats, and will take his walks, a stark departure from what we have seen from Baez, etc.
It was all Boise from the word go in this one, as the Hawks put up six runs over the first three inning en route to a 10-3 victory in Vancouver.
At the Plate:
- Rashad Crawford did his job from the lead-off spot tonight, he was 2-for-5 with a triple, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.
- Charcer Burks has been productive all year, it continued today as he went 3-for-6 with an RBI, three runs scored, and two stolen bases. Burks is now hitting .337 on the season.
- Alex Tomasovich had a solid game, he went 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, and a run scored.
On the Mound:
- Erick Leal got the start and did more than enough to walk away with the win, his sixth of the season. Leal worked six innings, giving up one run, unearned, on six hits, while walking one, and striking out two.
- Josh Davis worked a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
- Yomar Morel cleaned this up despite being knocked around. Morel worked two innings, giving up two runs on five hits, while striking out two.
It might be hard to believe, but Kris Bryant was the Cubs first round pick in 2013, that’s right, last year. With how much we talk about Bryant here, and on Twitter, you would think he has been around forever. Well, there is good reason for it, Kris Bryant has turned himself into a super prospect. Yesterday’s game with Iowa marked the 163rd professional game for Bryant, or one more game than your typical Major League regular season, let’s dive into Bryant’s stupid numbers.
All of these stats are totals from Bryant’s pro career (163 games)
Batting Average: .336 (194-for-578)
Home Runs: 50
Well, that’s absurd. Even more disturbing is that Bryant started his professional career extremely slow. In July of 2013 he only hit .220 with two home runs, and nine RBI’s (11 games). Of Bryant’s 194 hits, 100 are for extra bases, he is a slugging machine.
Now, let’s focus on his 2014 season, which has him as a finalist for Minor League Player of the Year.
2014 Totals (Combined numbers from Tennessee and Iowa)
Batting Average: .336 (151-for-450)
Home Runs: 41
As Bryant faces better competition, he has better production across the board. 2013 is weighing down his OBP/OPS… which is to be expected to some extent seeing it was his first experience as a pro, and it came at the end of his College season. The one thing that I take away from these stats is this, the strikeout rate. A guy with Bryant’s power is going to have a certain amount of swing and miss in his game, but his K rate remains static as he ascends through the system, it’s like clockwork actually.
K rate for his career (based on plate appearances) – 26.2%
K rate in 2014 (based on plate appearances) – 26.8%
Breakdown of K rate in 2014 per month
April – 27.7%
May – 25.4%
June – 27.2%
July – 27.4%
August – 26.3%
I like seeing this, I think there might be an uptick in these numbers once he’s called up, but maybe not, everything I’ve seen so far indicates that he will sit at this rate rather consistently, and I’m okay with that if he’s hitting 40 home runs a year. I don’t think Bryant will be called up this year, but early 2015 definitely makes sense, and will set the stage for the Cubs to be relevant again.